Who LOVES CHOCOLATE??? Our Father in heaven loves us so much gave us the cocoa bean! Did you know having one sweet every day can be part of a healthy lifestyle plan? One story about the historic Valentine is that he was a physician gastronomist who made his medicines more palatable by mixing them with sweet honey. In some ways, chocolate is like sweet medicine. Even Hippocrates is famous for saying, "Let food be thy medicine..." There are medicinal affects in components of chocolate, especially dark chocolate that has not been highly processed with fermentation, alkalizing or roasting.
Antioxidants and flavonoids in chocolate may promote good health by:
-fighting inflammation of the circulatory system and lowering blood pressure
-increasing blood flow to the brain and improving memory and math performance
-protecting us from toxins and reducing cell damage that trigger tumor growth
-decreasing the oxidation of LDL, "bad" cholesterol that forms plaque on artery walls
Like any food, chocolate is not necessarily good for you in high quantities though. One ounce on most days seems to give the greatest benefit. Even better, eat a variety of foods and more flavonoid-rich ones like apples, grapes, tea and cranberries. Regarding our weaknesses, let's ask our Valentine, Jesus Christ, for another thing...the fruit of self control. This free gift is key for weight management. His presence and bliss fills every part of our hungry existence with an everlasting joy that decrease negative emotions and stress-related, hunger signals.
Remember, our Creator made that sweet taste bud in our mouths for our pleasure and daily feasting on inspired scriptures keeps us in balance. Let us be realistic, avoid condemnation, and use what God gave us along with our new year resolutions. Thankfully enjoy a Valentine chocolate daily this February and know every good thing comes from above (James 1:17).
Amy Anderson MS RDN LD
Masters in Human Nutrition & Foods from WVU Federally Registered & Texas Licensed Nutritionist Dietitian